Malaria genetics: study shows how disease became deadly Image copyright Science Photo Library The secrets of how malaria became a deadly human-killer have been revealed by a genetic study.
The work, led by researchers from Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge, compared seven types of malaria - tracing the parasite's family tree.
This revealed that, about 50,000 years ago, the parasites diverged, with one "branch" evolving into the most deadly human-infecting species.
The findings are published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
One element of this diversion was a genetic switch that enabled malaria to infect human red blood cells - a "chunk of deadly DNA" that previous studies suggest could yet provide a target for a malaria-blocking vaccine.
"Our study has pieced together the sequential series of steps that set up the critical storm. allowing the parasites to not only enter humans but to stay, divide and be transferred by mosquitoes," explained one of the lead researchers,..
The Gambian village transformed by graffiti In a bid to lure tourists, internationally-renowned graffiti artists were invited to create artworks in a village in The Gambia, writes the BBC's Clare Spencer.
Image copyright Clare Spencer The Belgian graffiti artist ROA is known for painting huge murals of animals on multi-storey buildings in large cities, like London, Berlin and Mexico City. But in the village of Galoya, in The Gambia's Kombo Central District, the scale of his work is much smaller.
Image copyright Clare Spencer He paints animals native to the location, like the meerkat, above, and porcupine, below. But that is almost all that is known about him. The person who invited him to The Gambia, Lawrence Williams, knows him simply as Peter.
"He is very secretive about his identity" said Mr Williams.
Image copyright Clare Spencer ROA was one of many artists to come to Galoya and its neighbouring villages from 2011 for a project called Wide Open Walls.
It all started ..
Abuja 9th May 2018. Experts and officials have started examining pertinent planning issues having to do with the 13th Meeting of the Strategic Planning Coordinating Committee (SPCC) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) began with a workshop in Abuja, Nigeria on the 9th of May 2018.
Among others, the meeting is meant to critically review and appraise relevant issues in the on-going ECOWAS Community Strategic Framework (CSF) and chart the strategic direction of ECOWAS within the next decade.
Welcoming participants to the opening Workshop which is holding in conjunction with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Head, Planning, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation unit of the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre (EGDC) Mr. Awudu Ahmed Gumah stated that the endevour is an important course of action given that the next vision of the ECOWAS planning process needs a critical examination.
The Workshop facilitator Mrs. Ulrike Breitschuh stressed that t..
Commonwealth Games: Fifty athletes in Australia 'illegally' Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cameroon's Arcangeline Fouodji Sonkbou is one of dozens of competitors and officials who went missing Around 50 competitors have remained in Australia illegally after going missing during this year's Commonwealth Games, a government official has said.
Nearly 200 others hold bridging visas and are applying for refugee status.
Australia has warned it will deport those who stay in the country illegally, after dozens of competitors - including many from Africa - disappeared from the competition.
The numbers are a dramatic increase on other international sporting events.
When athletes vanish from sporting events Malisa Golightly, from the department of home affairs, told a Senate committee on Monday that the government had "had no contact" with the missing athletes, but added: "We know they haven't left."
She said that around 190 of the 205 athletes and officials ..
Ebola outbreak: Experimental vaccinations to begin in DR Congo Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The vaccines were first used in a limited trial during the 2014-16 West Africa Ebola outbreak Health workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo are to begin an immunisation campaign in an attempt to halt the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
The experimental vaccine proved effective when used in limited trials during the outbreak in West Africa in 2014-16.
At least 25 people are believed to have died in the current outbreak.
Health workers will be among the first to receive the vaccine on Monday.
What is Ebola?It is an infectious illness that causes internal bleeding and often proves fatal.
It can spread rapidly through contact with small amounts of bodily fluid, and its early flu-like symptoms are not always obvious.
More than 11,300 people died in the earlier outbreak in 2014-16.
Why Ebola keeps coming back Why Ebola is so dangerous How not to catch Ebola How serious is the c..
Letter from Africa: Why is no-one talking about the Zamfara conflict? Image copyright AFP Image caption Zamfara has been suffering from bad governance for decades In our series of letters from African journalists, Kadaria Ahmed looks at the brewing crisis in Nigeria's Zamfara State, which analysts say has the potential to become as deadly as the Boko Haram conflict.
Growing up nearly 50 years ago in Nigeria's north-western Zamfara State, I could never have imagined its future of grinding poverty and escalating violence.
The capital of Zamfara State, Gusau, used to be a prosperous town. British company John Holt ran a tannery, which bought and treated hides before shipping them off to Europe. Sugar giant Tate and Lyle had a presence. There was also a textile company, an oil mill, and a ginnery that prepared cotton for export.
As children, our favourite place in Gusau was the sweet factory, run by a Lebanese family who were, for all intents and purposes, locals. There, we could..
Madagascar emerges as whale shark hotspot Image copyright Simon J Pierce Image caption Whale sharks are the largest living fish Large numbers of endangered whale sharks have been sighted in waters off Madagascar.
The first major scientific survey in the area shows there are far more of the huge fish than previously thought.
Eighty-five individuals were identified in a single season from photographs of their distinctive markings.
The coastal waters contain a huge diversity of marine life, including sharks, whales and turtles.
"No one thought there were that many [whale] sharks," said Stella Diamant of the Madagascar Whale Shark Project in Nosy Be, an island off the coast of Madagascar.
"They don't seem to be there all year round - they come back for the food."
Many starsWhale sharks, which have unique spot patterns, are known locally as marokintana, meaning many stars.
The marine biologists uploaded photographs of the sharks' markings to a global database of sightings known a..